Well, to start with, I would test for pH, ammonia, and nitrite. While the tank is cycling, I would check these every day. As you see the tank coming close to the end of it's cycle, you can start to check for other things. Nitrates for instance. In FW
, seeing the nitrates come up is a sign that the cycle is finished and it's time to start slowly increasing the bioload. It's the same is SW
except that nitrates are less welcome in a SW
tank. Although, at 105lbs of LR
, you are a little under the recommended ratio, I think you can safely dispense with the bioballs and rely on the LR
to handle your bio filtration. The bio balls will produce nitrates rather quickly and, in the right concentrations, nitrates are bad news in SW
. You might want to read up on DSB
's (deep sand beds) also.
Once the nitrite has started to drop, you'll want to start to monitor nitrate. After a month or so of 0 readings on the ammonia and nitrite, you shouldn't have to worry about testing for them on a regular basis...just when you suspect trouble or when you have increased the bioload in the tank.
After the tank cycles, you also will want to check alk
and calcium on a regular basis. I check mine about once a week...sometimes twice if I have the time. Since I use RO
water only in my tank, I don't check for phosphate regularly. I might check it once a month or if I see some algae starting up somewhere. High phosphate (and nitrate) levels are a prime suspect when you see problem algae starting up. Copper? Unless you suspect that your source water has a copper content or you think copper might have somehow been introduced into the tank, I wouldn't worry about it.
What brand of kits? I use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kits. I find they are sufficient for what I need. I think reefrunner uses Salifert kits. I've never used them, but if he endorses them, I wouldn't hesitate to say they are good. I don't much like the dip strips. I find them difficult to read and I question their accuracy.
If I may make a suggestion, you might want to consider adding another heater. Redundancy is a good thing with heaters. I recently lost a clownfish because the heater got unplugged. If there had been two heaters, I would probably still have my clownfish. And, as I said earlier, I'd really think about ditching those bio balls.